Using Pastels in the Small Garden

Posted on Apr 3, 2012 | One Comment

Color is a very important element in the small garden, and sticking with the same color palette throughout is paramount. Combining colors from different color palettes in a small garden space can come across as a major boo boo, even if you’re not a professional designer.

Photo via homeandgarden_webshots

The Pastel Color Palette

The Pastel palette is soft and delicate, and includes lighter shades of colors. Think lavender, light pinks and pale yellows. Pastels tend to recede in the bright sunlight, but then come to life at dusk and in the shade.

Pastels work really well when there are richer, solid colors behind them — such as deep green foliage. When there are light and bright colors around, such as a light colored house or wall, pastels appear washed out. For this reason, a┬ádark colored house would be a gorgeous backdrop for a pastel garden.

Pastels also work well as a subtle background to a tapestry of plantings, rather than one plant in particular.

Photo via comparestoreprices_uk

Colors — pastels being no exception — really do impact the feeling and vibe of a garden. Pastels in particular have a soothing and calming effect.

When planting your pastels, just remember to use a 3:1 ratio of lighter colors (such as yellow and pink) to the darker colors (such as purple and blue). The reason for this is that the lighter colors tend to pop, while the darker colors tend to recede — and we don’t want too much popping!

Ready to get started on your pastel garden? Here are some great plants to use:


  • Prunus (cherry tree)
  • Lagerstroemia


  • Wisteria
  • Hardenbergia
  • Jasmine
  • Clematis
  • Pandorea


  • Hydrangea
  • Camellias
  • Syringa

Low Plants/Ground Cover

  • Geranium
  • Isotoma
  • Erigeron
  • Hemerocallis
  • Coreopsis
  • Lavender
  • Nepeta


Jessy-Berg-Habitat-Design This article was written by Jessy Berg, professional landscape designer & co-founder of Habitat Design. Habitat Design provides full-service online landscape design planning for small and mid-sized gardens, & an online store of unique garden & home furnishings — all at an affordable price. Jessy believes that beautiful gardens should be accessible & affordable for everyone. Check out Habitat Design >

Back to the blog >>

1 Comment

  1. Bonnie’s pastel picks for the garden « Blog « Habitat Design
    April 5, 2012

    […] and Easter coming up – we’ve got pastels on the brain! On Tuesday Jessy wrote about how to use pastel plants in a small garden, so today I thought I’d share some cool pastel garden […]


Leave a Reply